After observing the unique effects different drugs have on human behaviour, Sarah Schoenfeld explored their qualities further by dropping liquid drug mixtures onto exposed film. This chemical exploration has created a visual presentation of these unique and often mysterious substances. When you view these images, just try to imagine all the various ways these chemicals act inside the body. I like to consider the different colours and textures as representing the alternating emotions and physical changes when under the influence of drugs.

From top to bottom and left to right: ketamine, ecstasy, LSD, MDMA, heroin, speed.

For the past year I have been volunteering for an organisation called Fastbleep Schools, which is aimed at widening access to medicine. This involves visiting high schools and colleges to teach students medical skills such as anatomy, suturing, taking BP and more, and answer any questions they might have about the application process. Today I was able to do this at my former college (South Cheshire college), where I spent an incredible two years of my life. If it wasn’t for Fastbleep coming to the college when I was a student there, I don’t think I’d have had the confidence to pursue medicine. Fast forward two years: I’m now teaching with them and have recently taken over as their web director/editor. I owe the teachers at that college the world and I continue to find myself being presented with excellent opportunities time and time again at Manchester uni. The last four years of my academic life have been beautiful and I’m very grateful.

For the past year I have been volunteering for an organisation called Fastbleep Schools, which is aimed at widening access to medicine. This involves visiting high schools and colleges to teach students medical skills such as anatomy, suturing, taking BP and more, and answer any questions they might have about the application process. Today I was able to do this at my former college (South Cheshire college), where I spent an incredible two years of my life. If it wasn’t for Fastbleep coming to the college when I was a student there, I don’t think I’d have had the confidence to pursue medicine. Fast forward two years: I’m now teaching with them and have recently taken over as their web director/editor. I owe the teachers at that college the world and I continue to find myself being presented with excellent opportunities time and time again at Manchester uni. The last four years of my academic life have been beautiful and I’m very grateful.

A photo from 1925, tanning babies  at a Chicago orphanage during winter to prevent rickets
What’s rickets you might ask? It’s a condition causing bones to become soft and weak, which can lead to deformities. It is most commonly caused by a lack of vitamin D, and sunlight is essential for vitamin D production.
You only need about 20 mins a day in the sun for vitamin D production to be adequate, which seems easy right? But for kids, factory workers and those living in the depths of smogged up shady city buildings it can be pretty difficult (not to mention for those addicted to Tumblr - that’s right, I’m talking to you).

A photo from 1925, tanning babies  at a Chicago orphanage during winter to prevent rickets

What’s rickets you might ask? It’s a condition causing bones to become soft and weak, which can lead to deformities. It is most commonly caused by a lack of vitamin D, and sunlight is essential for vitamin D production.

You only need about 20 mins a day in the sun for vitamin D production to be adequate, which seems easy right? But for kids, factory workers and those living in the depths of smogged up shady city buildings it can be pretty difficult (not to mention for those addicted to Tumblr - that’s right, I’m talking to you).

In a state of constant alert, the child’s ”fight or flight” stress response goes into overdrive, causing physiological changes to the architecture of the brain.
The results can be catastrophic. As cell growth is impaired and the formation of healthy neural circuits is disrupted, the child struggles to regulate emotions.
Changes in the hippocampus - the part of the brain responsible for memory and emotional control - cause shrinkage, which in turn can trigger learning and behavioural problems, difficulty with impulse control and a heightened sense of rage and self-loathing.
Evidence is also emerging that the effects of toxic stress can last a lifetime, putting the child at increased risk of mental and physical health problems and cognitive impairment in adulthood. The concern is that the trans-generational consequences of family violence, abuse, neglect, economic hardship and parental mental illness and drug and alcohol problems will compound over time.

In a state of constant alert, the child’s ”fight or flight” stress response goes into overdrive, causing physiological changes to the architecture of the brain.

The results can be catastrophic. As cell growth is impaired and the formation of healthy neural circuits is disrupted, the child struggles to regulate emotions.

Changes in the hippocampus - the part of the brain responsible for memory and emotional control - cause shrinkage, which in turn can trigger learning and behavioural problems, difficulty with impulse control and a heightened sense of rage and self-loathing.

Evidence is also emerging that the effects of toxic stress can last a lifetime, putting the child at increased risk of mental and physical health problems and cognitive impairment in adulthood. The concern is that the trans-generational consequences of family violence, abuse, neglect, economic hardship and parental mental illness and drug and alcohol problems will compound over time.

Idiopathic cardiomyopathy
This is an example of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy occuring without a known cause. The ventrical walls, and sometimes the walls of the heart’s mitral valve, grow thicker. Eventually, ventricular blockage can occur, placing undue stress on the heart muscle as it struggles to pump blood through the narrowed passages of the ventricle.

Idiopathic cardiomyopathy

This is an example of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy occuring without a known cause. The ventrical walls, and sometimes the walls of the heart’s mitral valve, grow thicker. Eventually, ventricular blockage can occur, placing undue stress on the heart muscle as it struggles to pump blood through the narrowed passages of the ventricle.

Obsidian Scalpels

Obsidian is a volcanic glass, produced when lava cools rapidly. It is extremely hard and brittle, making it a great choice as a cutting tool since the Acheulian age (beginning 1.5 million years previously) dated 700,000 BC.

So why is this important in medicine? When used as a scalpel blade, obsidian is significantly smoother and sharper than steel (as shown above in the electron micrograph) and have been a part of medical practice since the days of Egyptian embalming procedures. The cutting blade of obsidian is 3nm and post-surgical review found that obsidian wounds contained fewer inflammatory cells, less granulation tissue and had smaller scar width compared to incisions made with steel

In the US they are only currently being used in surgery with animals as the FDA has not yet approved their use in humans however in Europe this is not the case and obsidian scalpels are being used particularly in facial reconstructive surgeries to avoid disturbing scars that would be produced with a steel blade. Even superior to the obsidian scalpel is the diamond scalpel, but at £77 ($130) the obsidians make an affordable substitute.

Ventricular Ectopic Beats
The most common type of ventricular ectopic beat is premature; ventricular contraction occurs before the underlying rhythm would normally depolarise the ventricles. 
The impulse of a ventricular ectopic beat is not conducted through the ­ventricles via the rapidly conducting His–Purkinje system. The resultant ­complexes are therefore broad (> 0.12 s) and bizarre in shape, and will not be preceded by a premature P wave. 
They are often idiopathic (without known cause) but when caused by cardiac disease are associated with an increased cardiovascular mortality that will not be reduced by antiarrhythmic drugs.
Often a pattern is seen, with the ectopic beat occurring every other beat, every third or fourth beat, in couplet or triplet patterns and so on. 
The image above shows a ventricular ectopic beat occurring every third beat (V2).

Ventricular Ectopic Beats

The most common type of ventricular ectopic beat is premature; ventricular contraction occurs before the underlying rhythm would normally depolarise the ventricles. 

The impulse of a ventricular ectopic beat is not conducted through the ­ventricles via the rapidly conducting His–Purkinje system. The resultant ­complexes are therefore broad (> 0.12 s) and bizarre in shape, and will not be preceded by a premature P wave. 

They are often idiopathic (without known cause) but when caused by cardiac disease are associated with an increased cardiovascular mortality that will not be reduced by antiarrhythmic drugs.

Often a pattern is seen, with the ectopic beat occurring every other beat, every third or fourth beat, in couplet or triplet patterns and so on. 

The image above shows a ventricular ectopic beat occurring every third beat (V2).

Wound Man is an illustration which first appeared in European surgical texts in the Middle Ages. 
It laid out schematically the various wounds a person might suffer in battle or in accidents

Wound Man is an illustration which first appeared in European surgical texts in the Middle Ages. 

It laid out schematically the various wounds a person might suffer in battle or in accidents

I had to share this beautiful medical illustration by Tess Tobolic. Sometimes I regret not pursuing a similar path.

I had to share this beautiful medical illustration by Tess Tobolic. Sometimes I regret not pursuing a similar path.

Tree-barking of the aorta

Before rupture occurs, infamous ‘tree bark’ grooves appear on the inner layer of the aorta.

They are basically stretch marks of the aorta and can be seen in cases of Marfan-style dilatation of the aortic root. The reason you can’t see them in cases of atherosclerosis is because the markings are masked by plaques.

A classic presentation of syphilitic aneurysm of the aortic arch.

A classic presentation of syphilitic aneurysm of the aortic arch.

Syphilitic Aortic Aneurysm

Syphilitic aortitis is an inflammatory disease of the aorta associated with the tertiary stage of syphilis infection. SA begins as inflammation of the adventitia (outer layer), including the blood vessels that supply the aorta itself with blood, the vasa vasorum. As SA worsens, the walls of the vasa vasorum thicken, restricting blood flow and causing ischemia of the outer two-thirds of the aortic wall. Starved for oxygen and nutrients, elastic fibres become patchy and smooth muscle cells necrose. The wall weakens and scars. If the disease progresses, syphilitic aortitis leads to an aortic aneurysm. 

Abdominal aneurysm of aorta secondary to atherosclerosis.

Abdominal aneurysm of aorta secondary to atherosclerosis.